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WHO EMRO COVID-19 situation updates for week 23 (6–12 June 2021)

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The coronavirus disease COVID-19 continues to spread at the regional and global levels. As of 12 June 2021, the global cumulative incidence reached 174 939 282 reported cases and 3 783 004 associated deaths with a case fatality ratio (CFR) of 2.2%. Meanwhile, the 22 countries of the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR) have reported a total of 10 475 692 cases, which represent about 6% of the global count, with 208 721 associated deaths (CFR 2%). Most countries in the Region are in the community transmission phase.

Since the beginning of the outbreak, the country that has reported the highest number of total cases in the Region is Islamic Republic of Iran (3 020 522 cases; 28.8% of the Region’s total), followed by Iraq (1 250 691; 11.9%) and Pakistan (941 170; 8.9%). Islamic Republic of Iran also reported the highest number of total associated deaths (81 911; CFR 2.7%) followed by Pakistan (21 689; CFR 2.3%) and Iraq (16 690; CFR 1.3%). The highest CFRs were reported by Yemen (19.6%) followed by Sudan (7.5%), while the lowest CFRs were reported by Qatar (0.26%), United Arab Emirates (0.29%) and Bahrain (0.47%).

During epidemiological week 23, the Region reported a decrease in cases of 5.4% when compared to the previous week (191 264 cases compared to 202 266 cases). Similarly, a decrease of 2.8% was observed for associated deaths (3420 deaths compared to 3519 deaths).

Afghanistan, Oman and Tunisia reported a relative increase in COVID-19 activity in week 23. The cumulative number of cases increased from 80 841 to 91 458 in Afghanistan (a 13.1% weekly increase), from 222 799 to 233 152 in Oman (a 4.7% weekly increase), and from 355 732 to 368 908 in Tunisia (a 3.7% weekly increase). Afghanistan, Bahrain and Tunisia had the largest relative increase in deaths.

In terms of testing, a total of 158 113 045 laboratory PCR tests were conducted since the start of the outbreak across the Region including 4 353 662 tests in week 23, which shows an 1.2% decrease compared to the previous week when 4 405 420 tests were conducted. The highest number of PCR tests were reported from United Arab Emirates (53.1 million), followed by Islamic Republic of Iran (21.4 million) and Saudi Arabia (20.3 million). The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain are performing the highest rates of testing per capita (5369/1000 and 2823/1000, respectively). The average positivity rate for the Region is 6.6%. WHO recommends a positivity rate of around 3–12% as a general benchmark indicating adequate testing, which was achieved in most countries of the Region.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 vaccination continues across the Region. The total number of doses administered so far in the 22 countries is 80 130 898. Morocco has administered the highest number of doses at 16 689 797, followed Saudi Arabia by at 15 932 839and United Arab Emirates at 13 848 062. On the other hand, the total number of administrated doses in Sudan is 539 843, in Libya is 330 260, in Yemen is 221 380, in Somalia is 154 986, in Syria is 71 519, and in Djibouti is 21 357.*

Supporting countries in the Region

The regional incident management support team continues to coordinate the response and provide technical support to countries and partners in the Region in the areas of coordination and partnership, surveillance, laboratory capacity, clinical management, infection prevention and control, risk communication and community engagement, points of entry according to the International Health Regulations (2005), research, health systems, and essential health services among others.